What is prayer? Prayer is talking to God, entering into relationship with Him. It involves both talking and listening. Often prayer is associated with asking God for something, but prayer really is worship, seeking to know God and spending time with Him out of our love for Him. It’s trusting that He is a good, good father and that He “rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Yes, developing a life of prayer builds and activates our faith.
But how should we pray? How can we really communicate with a being that we can’t even see? That’s where trust comes in. We have to trust that what we have heard about God, what we have read in the pages of His Word is true. We have to take that step of believing that He is. I believe because I’ve seen God at work in my own life and I’ve heard Him whisper to my heart through what I’ve read in the Bible, through nature and through circumstances where I have felt His comfort and presence. I can’t explain those times exactly, but I know they have been real.
So how can we pray? What do we say to God? I believe we can speak whatever is on our heart and God hears us, even our baby prayers when we are first learning or even our selfish prayers, though He doesn’t always give us everything we ask for. As a loving Father, He sometimes says, “No!” because He know what we need most. He knows what’s best for us.
Jesus gave us a model for prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, that I often use when I don’t know what to say or how to pray about a situation. Here’s what I’ve learned from Jesus’ prayer.
Our Father in heaven, – I can address God as a Father. He loves me. He knows what’s best for me and He knows all about me.
Hallowed be your name – When I come to God in prayer, it’s always good to honor Him. Honor and thank Him for who He is whether He answers your prayers exactly like you want or not. He is God and we aren’t.
Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven – Yes, God is king. He is king of everything. Have I allowed Him to rule and reign in my life? Have I truly relinquished my will to His will or am I stubbornly hanging on to what I want? Lord, I want to do your will here on earth, right where I am.
Give us today our daily bread – Lord, you know exactly what I need for today. You know what I will face today and I don’t, so give me today what I need. I relinquish any worries I have about tomorrow into your hands and I trust you to provide what I need for this day. Thank you!
Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors – Help me to extend grace and forgiveness to others today just as you have extended grace and forgiveness to me. I need your help to do this, Lord.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one – Help me Lord to walk away from that which calls me away from your purpose and plan or that leads me into unhealthy habits and ways of thinking.
Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever – Lord, I recognize that you are king. You have all power and authority. I want to live my life to glorify you. Thank you for who you are. Thank you for loving me, forgiving me and providing for me. Amen
After praying this prayer, I like to spend time asking God what He wants to say to me and listening. I often find that He brings a verse from the Bible to mind or I may just feel surrounded by His love and care. At times, I have jotted down the thoughts that come to mind when I am trying to listen for God’s voice. Usually they are thoughts of encouragement love and grace. Wherever you are at in your prayer journey, keep trying and taking those steps of trust, God will meet you.
Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for giving me a prayer pattern to follow. I know that you hear me when I pray even when I don’t know what to say. Show me how to encourage prayer with my kids. May they always find that you are a good, good father, that you are always ready to hear what they have to say. Help me to be aware and take advantage of the opportunities you give me
to pray everyday. Amen
What can you talk to God about? Anything and everything – including your worst moments, He knows about them anyway.
When and where can you pray? Any time and anywhere.
In the morning when you get up, when you are driving, at night, at home, at church, at work – God is always there!
Pray with your kids. They will learn to pray as you model prayer for them. Keep it simple.
GETTING STARTED WITH PRAYER –
* Start with praise and thankfulness.
* Ask for guidance and help for the day ahead.
* Confess your sins, debts, things you are struggling with. Thank Him for His forgiveness and grace. Ask for His strength and guidance in overcoming these things.
* Bring to Him your petitions or requests for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to be specific, but do leave the answer in His hands. Remember nothing is too big or too small to bring to God.
* Listen to God. What is God saying to you?
* Close with worship. Acknowledge who God is. He is worthy of all honor and glory.
SHARE A STORY –
Jesus Teaches Us To Pray- Matt. 6:9-13
When Jesus lived on earth, He took time to pray and talk with His Father God in heaven. One day, Jesus’ helpers asked Him to teach them to pray. Jesus showed them how to pray by sharing a prayer with them. This was how He prayed:
Father God in heaven, – (When we talk to God, we can talk to Him just like we would talk to our dad, Grandpa or uncle.)
May your name be honored. – (Dear God, I know you are amazing. Help me to always use your name in a good way.)
May your kingdom come. – (Dear God, Be king of my heart and all that I do.)
May what you want to happen be done on earth as it is in heaven. -(Dear God, Do what you want to do here on earth and in my own life.)
Give us today our daily bread. – (Dear God, Give me what I need today. Thank you for good food to eat.)
Forgive our sins as we also forgive everyone who sins against us. – (Dear God, Help me make good choices and forgive me when I mess up or do bad things. Help me forgive others too.) Amen
God loves you and listens when you talk to Him. We can talk to Him everyday.
Who loves you? God loves me. What can you do? I can talk to God.
PRAYER:Dear God,I’m so glad I can talk to you everyday. Thank you for listening to me. Show me how to pray and help me remember that I can talk to you any time and anywhere because you are always listening. Amen
MEMORIZE: Luke 2:52 CEV – (Hold hands open like holding a book.)
“Jesus” – (Touch fingers of hand to palm of other hand, repeat.)
“Became wise and” – (Point to forehead.)
“He grew.” – (Squat down and then slowly stand up.)
“Strong” – (Show muscles.)
“God was pleased with Him.” – (Point up and then clap hands.)
THE MAIN IDEA:
TO KNOW: Jesus talked to His Father God, I can talk to God.
TO TALK ABOUT: What is prayer?I can pray any time.
TO ASK: Who loves you? God loves me.
AND DO: Talk to God everyday.
FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK
* Pray with your child in the morning, at bedtime, when he/she gets an ‘owie’, any time. One sentence conversation prayers are a great way to get started.
- Draw picture prayers together and put in an envelope to use as your child’s prayer pocket each day. At the end of the week, take the pictures out and talk about each one. How did God answer your prayers?